Give Amazon warehouse workers sick leave, hazard pay

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, pictured on Oct. 2, 2019.

Elif Ozturk | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Four senators sent a letter to Amazon urging the company to better protect warehouse workers during the coronavirus outbreak. 

In a letter sent to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Friday, Sens. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, urged him to provide paid sick leave and time-and-a-half hazard pay for its workers, among other measures. 

“Any failure of Amazon to keep its workers safe does not just put their employees at risk, it puts the entire country at risk,” the senators wrote in the letter. “Americans who are taking every precaution…might risk getting infected with COVID-19 because of Amazon’s decision to prioritize efficiency and profits over the safety and well-being of its workforce.” 

The senators included a list of questions for Bezos seeking more information about what steps Amazon is taking to protect its employees from infection, with a deadline for Amazon to respond by March 26.

The letter also asks whether Amazon would consider covering the cost of testing workers for the coronavirus and whether it would ease disciplinary measures and its “strident efficiency” to give workers enough time to wash their hands. The senators asked Bezos whether Amazon would consider temporarily shutting down any facility where a worker tests positive for the virus.

The letter comes one day after Amazon temporarily closed a Queens, New York delivery station, known as DBK1, after a worker tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. The case marked the first known incident of a U.S. Amazon warehouse employee contracting the disease. On Monday, Amazon confirmed that at least five workers at Amazon warehouses in Spain and Italy contracted the disease. 

Unlike employees at Amazon’s corporate

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